Darrell Bevell trained many talented running backs during his time as coordinator. From Adrian Peterson to Marshawn Lynch to Chris Carson to D’Andre Swift, Bevell has seen all kinds of skills and styles.
Now he’s moving to a different rewind, skill, and way of running: James Robinson.
Bevell was announced Thursday as the Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator, and it is already clear how important Robinson and the running back position will be in the Bevell era of offense.
“The running back position is huge. It does a lot of things. I think it’s a lot that you can do in action play and movement play,” Bevell said Thursday.
Robinson was the team’s workhorse last season, and this is expected to continue in 2021 under Bevell and new head coach Urban Meyer. On a team that currently lacks an identity and cornerstone on either side of the ball, Robinson offers both.
“James [Robinson] had an outstanding year. I was able to meet him for the first time today, “said Bevell.” He was in the weight room so all I had to do was say hello to him for the second time. [He] had a really nice year, obviously an uncovered rookie came out and played really well. “
In total, Robinson carried the ball 240 times for 1,070 yards (4.5 yards per carry) for seven touchdowns. He led rookie running backs at receptions (49) and touchdown receptions (three) while recording 344 yards. In 14 games, Robinson finished with 1,414 scrimmage yards (1,070 rushing, 344 receiving), the most scrimmage yards of an uncovered rookie in the Common Draft era.
He was also the only rookie in the NFL to average more than 100 scrimmage yards per game that season. In short, he was one of the best of all NFL newbies and all NFL running backs in 2020. He was the entire offense of the Jaguars, the heartbeat of a team that gave everything every Sunday but fell short almost every time.
Robinson’s job is not done yet, however. He’s had a great rookie season, but it’s clear when he speaks to Robinson that his priority is winning above all else. Despite his tough numbers, Robinson missed a big record in his rookie year.
This is where Bevell will help. He will be tasked with designing and implementing a running game that matches Robinson’s abilities while also giving him the opportunity to expand his game.
But so far, Bevell likes what he has to work with and gives this scouting report on Robinson’s game on Thursday.
“I like his skills. I like the way he cuts the ball. He has really good vision. He has great contact balance. He can miss guys on the second level. He can miss guys and get, what we need.” Of course he’ll keep working on speed and things like that, but [I] really like what he’s done and [I] look forward to working with him. “
The jaguars will have many moving parts on the offensive in 2021. Meyer and Bevell will add their own accents to the offensive, while Robinson will be assisted by a rookie quarterback in the backfield. As impressive as Robinson was last year, all of these are reasons he needs to get even better in 2021.
It is now in the hands of Bevell to make sure this happens.